Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
By Dawn Wolfe
On January 12, 2005 Michigan’s legislators will return from their winter break.
The LGBT community will be waiting for them.
Thanks to the efforts of both old and new LGBT community leaders, a demonstration is planned for the Capitol steps on Jan. 12 at 11 a.m. “to stand up to the right’s perceived mandate to take away our rights,” according to protest organizer Stephen Eddins.
Eddins, a peace activist from Ypsilanti, was active in defeating an initiative in that city to remove sexual orientation from the non-discrimination statute. However, it was the passage of Proposal 2 in November that spurred Eddins, like over 3,000 others, to become involved in protecting our community’s rights statewide.
“I was real cautious at first, because I haven’t done anything statewide in the gay community,” Eddins said. “I didn’t know if anyone was going to take me seriously.”
However, Eddins found a receptive audience in the Triangle Foundation’s Sean Kosofsky, Between The Lines publisher Susan Horowitz, and other established community leaders. Eddins said he also received a warm reception for his proposal during the town hall meetings on Proposal 2 that were held the first weekend of December.
Kathleen LaTosch of Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center, who is helping organize the demonstration, is one of the people who listened.
According to LaTosch, the purpose of the demonstration is to “express opposition to the passage of Proposal 2, and to show by our numbers the strength of the LGBT community.”
“The idea is to show our legislators that we won’t passively stand by if anti-gay legislation is taken up. We will take a stand and fight for what’s right,” she added.
“It’s a way for our community to strengthen itself and come together with a unified voice,” said LaTosch, who added that participants will be urged to meet with as many of their state representatives and senators as possible that day.
Make a difference – take a day off from work
LaTosch stressed that our community must show up in large numbers in order to make a real impression, and asked as many people as possible to take part or all of the day on Jan. 12 off from work in order to attend.
Allies are welcome to join the protest.
“If they have family members who are supportive, take those people,” said LaTosch. “Because those numbers are going to be so important in conveying our message.”
Demonstration organizers are asking additional organizations to sponsor the event. Event sponsors will be listed in all publicity and will be part of the steering and planning committees. Sponsoring organizations are also expected to get their members to attend. Seventeen organizations had agreed to sponsor the demonstration at press time.
Event organizers are still lining up speakers for the demonstration.
The strength of the truth
Even though Proposal 2 passed, it passed on the strength of a lie – that the proposal was about “protecting ‘traditional marriage,'” when really it was the first step in a campaign to take away all of the rights our community has struggled to achieve over the past forty years. The religious right has lies – our community has the truth, the strength of our numbers, and the strength of the numbers of all of the non-bigoted citizens of Michigan.
It is time for our community to stop being on the defensive. It is time to show our strength, and show the “religious right” just how wrong they are.
The following organizations and individuals had joined to sponsor the Jan. 12 demonstration as of press time:
ACLU of Michigan
Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center
American Friends Service Committee
Between The Lines
The Coalition for Adoption Rights Equality
Detroit Black Gay Pride
Eastern Michigan University LGBT Resource Center
Michigan Positive Action Coalition
Michigan State University GLBT Faculty, Staff and Graduate Student Association
Michigan State University Office of LGBT Concerns
The Michigan Steering Committee, Human Rights Campaign
Midwest AIDS Prevention Project
Progressive Action Toward an Equal Michigan
Washtenaw Faith Action Network
Washtenaw Rainbow Action Project
Michelle Brown – Michigan Steering Committee, Human Rights Campaign
Craig Covey – Ferndale City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem
Susan Horowitz – Publisher, Between The Lines
Thomas R. Zerafa – LGBT community activist}
For more information on becoming a sponsoring organization, volunteering, or events during the demonstration, contact Stephen Eddins at email@example.com or 734-483-2524.